To kick off this month long event is a very dear friend of mine, Bennie Blevins. Bennie and I grew up together I must say he should take some credit for helping me discover my creative inspirations. When we were in the second grade, we made up skits for the class ranging from excerpts from The Wizard of Oz to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. We played together throughout our entire childhood and then remained friends through high school and college. Although there have been some separations along the way, we reconnected via Facebook and here he is.
Book Title (s) Sons of The Crossroads: Initiation
There was a noise from behind the stone fence behind the garden, something was moving in the tall grass. Aunt Maggie turned quickly, and then back to Aidan. “Honey…lets get back into the house.”
A low growl came from out of the darkness and then the two glowing red eyes appeared. Suddenly Aunt Maggie dropped the basket of lavender and began screaming falling to her knees, screaming Aidan’s name. “No Aidan….no…I can’t lose you!” Aunt Maggie was cradling something invisable in her arms…tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Aunt Maggie…I’m right here. I am fine…” Aidan moved down beside her placing his hand on her back trying to get her attention.
“She only sees and hears what I wish her to see and hear boy!” A shrill harsh voice said from beyond the wall. Aidan rose to his feet and put himself between the voice and Aunt Maggie.
A dark figure leapt up and perched on the stone wall. The garden lights gave enough light for Aidan to make out a humanoid form, wearing a ripped cloak, and torn knee high pants. It’s eyes glowing blood red and filled with hatred.
“Thou art not trained boy…I will allow thee to have a quick death.” the creature said.
Aidan’s body was shaking, he wanted to run, but he wasn’t going to leave Aunt Maggie either. “You can do whatever you want with me…but leave my aunt and everyone else alone!”
The creature chuckled. “Thou art noble and brave to defend thy aunt…but I will have my revenge on every Thorne until I am the only one that remains….”
“Then why kill anyone else? Aunt Maggie isn’t a Thorne. Aidan pleaded.
“No she is not…but her death shall be…for nothing else…entertainment.” The figure laughed as it leapt into the air.
Aidan wasn’t sure what to do. He just wanted to keep Aunt Maggie safe and the creature to leave them alone. Aidan closed his eyes “Just get away from us.” he thought to himself. Aidan could hear the sound of rustling leaves around him and Aunt Maggie.
He opened his eyes to see leaves spinning around him like a small tornado. As the creature was nearly upon them, it hit the spinning air, which sent him flying back and through the door of the small work shed.
The air settled down and Aidan rose to his feet. A loud growl erupted from the shed, and the creature’s red eyes appeared out of the darkness, before leaping out of the shed. “How didst thou do that boy?” the creature screamed.
“I don’t know…just leave us alone!” Aidan screamed back.
The creature laughed. “No matter! Thy aunt and thee shall die this night!” The creature leapt forward striking its claws near Aidan’s face. Suddenly, one of the garden torches around the garden burst into flames. Aidan jumped back against Aunt Maggie who was still sobbing on the ground. “I said just leave us alone you bastard!”
The flames from the torches shot into the air, formed into one single large flame and hit the creature in the chest and face as he rose into the air. The creature screamed as the force sent him flying back over the stone wall into the darkness. His screams echoing through the forest.
“Fascinating!” Richard said rushing out the back door. “Where is the beast?”
“I don’t know…it fell back over the fence…what the fuck just happened?”
“Magic Aidan…magic.” Richard replied.
Aunt Maggie seemed to come to. “What is going on?”
Aidan slowly helped Maggie to her feet “Are you okay Aunt Maggie?…”
The back gate came opened and Sawyer came rushing in. He was still only wearing the gray cotton shorts, and was bare foot. “Aidan?…where are you?” Ari rushed out to help with Aunt Maggie.
“I’m right here Sawyer…” Aidan said as Ari whispered that she had Maggie.
Sawyer rushed forward and wrapped his arms around Aidan pulling him close into his chest. Aidan’s cheek was pressed into the soft sparse hair on Sawyer’s chest.
Bennie is an aspiring writer, focusing on the genres of Young Adult Fantasy/Gay Paranormal Romance Novel. When asked what drew him to the genre, he said, ”
I am primarily drawn toward horror and paranormal fiction in general because I have had paranormal experiences in my own life and because my writing just naturally goes in that direction. I think that I am drawn to that genre because of my own experiences and interests. In terms of young adult, and with my novel, gay paranormal/horror fiction specifically, I feel that it an area that is ignored within young adult fiction. Most of the young adult paranormal fiction out on the market usually center around a teenage girl who falls in love with a guy who just happens to be some type of paranormal creature himself. Or you will find a girl who happens to be a witch, etc. But very few young adult novels center around a teenage guy, who just happens to be gay. I feel that with all the stories we hear in the media about LGBT young people getting bullied that a message needs to be sent that you can be LGBT, be proud of who you are, find strength within yourself, and make it in this crazy world. Even if you just happen to have some paranormal stuff going on.”
I inquired about getting from start to finish with his novel. He told me that was a tough questions. He said, “I don’t know because I am still working on my novel. I will say that I am my own worst enemy. I tend to go back and forth with sections, picking them apart, and questioning myself. But I have been making myself to just write and ignore those voices in my head that make me question myself and judge myself and my writing so harshly.”
Research is an essential in being an author. Bennie explained that his novels centers around a teen gay boy who happens to be a witch. He said he studied the Wiccan religion in detail as a base. He added, “just a quick note, my character is not a wizard nor is he a warlock, he is a witch. I don’t like the term warlock because it actually means “oath-breaker”. I do use the term in the novel, but it is used to describe a witch who has turned evil, male or female. I also have studied the Salem Witch Trials in great detail which is a central theme and historical event in the novel.”
The main character of the novel was also discussed. Here is what he had to say: “My main character is named Aidan. I will not give a lot of detail but I will say that he is a teen gay guy who is bullied relentlessly in school, primarily by three homophobic jocks. Aidan and his brother just happen to come from a long line of witches. Aidan is very cute and has great fashion sense, but he is a bit of an outcast at his school partially due to being out and because of his family’s past in the small conservative southern Ohio town that he lives in. ”
Balancing time is also an obstacle for most writers, especially when you are working full time outside of the home and managing other essential life responsibilities. I talked to Bennie about this. He said, “To be honest not as well as I would like. I just recently finished my Masters of Arts in Literature and Writing, all while holding down a very demanding and exhausting full time job. Now that I am finished with school…for a while. I mostly write on the weekends and still try to have a life. It isn’t easy. Most of the time I have a notebook with me to jot down ideas, sentences, or a paragraph. ”
Authors that inspire him included the following: J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Poppy Z. Brite, Christopher Rice, Edgar Allen Poe, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Oscar Wilde.
Every new and aspiring author has a certain expectation about being published. We discussed this during Bennie’s interview and this is what he told me: “When I think of being published the first thing I imagine is someone picking up one of my books in a library or bookstore, reading it, being touched, inspired, and excited by the story and messages within the novel, and just falling in love with the story and characters. I will be honest and say that the idea of being able to make an actual living by being a full time author is a dream of mine, but I write because I have stories to tell I just want to share them. It would be exciting for me to walk into a library or bookstore and see my novels on the shelves, but to actually see someone excited and moved by my work would be the biggest reward.”
Other projects: “I have a few short stories and another possible novel in the works that is not for young adults. It is also horror. But the Sons of the Crossroads will actually be a series of novels, so I have already began planning the other novels.”
Bennie explained he’s been writing his entire life. He said, “Sons of The Crossroads I have actually been writing for a number of years now. But life, school, and work have at times slowed me down or interfered. I hate to admit that but it is the truth. I am learning to balance it all.”
When asked about the one wish he had as an author and a person, he answered, “That a young person will read it and find hope to keep going in spite of hard times. In spite of bullies, racism, homophobia, or any other dark things that this world throws at us. I think that is why I write horror. We live in a world full of darkness, hate, ignorance, and yes…things that we do not want to believe actually exists, but we also have light and love within us that can overcome all of that darkness. And not everything that goes bump in the night is bad…it might actually be there to protect us and love us.”
Charities Bennie supports include the Human Rights Campaign and the It Gets Better Foundation. When asked what inspires him, Bennie said, “I usually just look within and get in touch with my imagination. I have had experiences in my life that I pull from.” He explained that he doesn’t have a single vision. He told me that he believes that words “are magic and that they can change us, others, and our world when spoken and written.” He also explained that he believes that “within the darkness there is always light and love. And that love is the most powerful magic of all.”
The most important thing he wants people to know about him is this: “I want people to know that I am just a guy who loves words, books, and stories and that I am a story weaver and story teller. My stories deal with issues that may be controversial or difficult to discuss, my stories speak about the dark things we all would rather keep hidden in the closets or under the beds of our own minds, and of the fact that there are things that exists that we cannot see with our naked eyes, but within the midst of those things there is always light and love. And lastly…Reading and writing is just really fun! So turn off the television, the computers, and put down the cells and read a book and also try your hand at weaving a story, you never know who’s life you may change, it may even be your own.”
I want to extend a sincere thank you to Bennie for sharing in this very first Autumn Blog Tour devoted especially to aspiring writers seeking to be published one day and for self published authors. And thank you everyone for following! More to come tomorrow night at 6 p.m. EST!